Saturday, 6 September 2008

16 September

Down under to head off Pakatan Rakyat

Is it going to happen? Will Anwar Ibrahim be able to tempt some 30 Barisan Nasional members of parliament, particularly from Sabah, to defect so that he could form the new government come 16 September? The Sabahan MPs are denying more than loudly that they are not going to cross over.

But the Barisan Nasional is not taking his threat lightly, and the Barisan MPs have been directed to hold a retreat from 7 -17 september, most probably in Australia to study the latest technology on agricultural production. According to a news report, the response to this study tour has been luke-warm.

Of course the Barisan Nasional members of parliament denied that the proposed retreat has anything to do with the 16 September dateline; september being the fasting month and the MPs will have a long break from parliament to study studiously about "increasing agricultural output", as one MP put it.

Meanwhile Malaysians are being fed a regular dose of the ongoing furore over the branding of the Chinese as "squatters" in the country who should not have equal rights by Ahmad Ismail during a Permatang Pauh by-election speech to garner Malay votes. Some members of the MCA and Gerakan have demanded that they pull out of Barisan Nasional if the culprit did not apologize, although the Deputy Prime Minister had earlier apologized on his behalf. Adding to the chagrin of the Deputy Prime Minister, the perpetrator with the full backing of Penang UMNO, has today steadfastly refused to apologize, defending his offending remark as merely stating a "historical" fact. After a meeting with Penang UMNO, the harassed Prime Minister declared that the recalcitrant politician is not a racist and his remarks have been misinterpreted. The Deputy Prime Minister must be feeling very hot under the collar at the moment. Looks like the two UMNO's leaders' authority has been challenged if not seriously undermined.

I think the Malaysian public are getting very tired of some of these trash politicians who continue to stoke the flame of racism come election time. The nation's energy and political will have been sapped by these increasingly fractious distractions. These have cast a cloud of uncertainty on the investment climate of the country.

On another matter, a New Straits Time report claimed that 80% of vehicles did not pass the road worthiness test conducted by Puspakom, (centres for inspection of vehicles) after some 36 officers were arrested for alleged corruption. A case of tit-for-tat?

Meanwhile Malaysians are preoccupied with the increase in food prices, especially hawker food which has provoked the ire of many a customer. Here is one complaining about the price of a bowl of porridge:

Seeing red over RM7 price tag for a bowl of porridge
A consumer complained of having to pay RM7 for a bowl of rice porridge with some dried fish, bean sprouts and kangkung (a kind of leafy vegetable) at a food shop in Kelantan.

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